A supplied image obtained on Saturday, February 22, 2020, shows Holden driver Jamie Whincup after winning the opening race of 2020 during the Superloop Adelaide 500, Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Adelaide. (AAP Image/Supplied by Mark Horsburgh, Edge Photographics) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
A supplied image obtained on Saturday, February 22, 2020, shows Holden driver Jamie Whincup after winning the opening race of 2020 during the Superloop Adelaide 500, Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Adelaide. (AAP Image/Supplied by Mark Horsburgh, Edge Photographics) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Why Whincup never chased glory overseas

SUPERCARS great Jamie Whincup has revealed his love for Australia was what held him back from ever acting on a temptation to test his racing skills overseas as he approaches another significant career milestone.

As the seven-time Supercars champion prepares to suit up for his 500th race start at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park this weekend, Whincup admitted he had been tempted by the thought of heading overseas to race full-time earlier in his career.

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Whincup's DJR Team Penske rival Scott McLaughlin is tipped to make a move to the United States to race IndyCar next year. The defending Supercars champion will make his race debut in the series in May.

Holden star Whincup's credentials are unmatched, owning more championship titles and race wins than any driver in Supercars history.

But the Triple Eight ace with a penchant for adrenaline-fuelled water sports away from the track said he loved his life in Australia too much to make the move to go racing overseas.

"I was tempted and I definitely had a long hard think about it going back eight or nine years now," Whincup said.

"But it came back to I loved Australia too much, that's what kept me here. I didn't want to live the next 10 years of my life in the US, I wanted to stay here in Australia.

"I love going to those places on holidays and to visit and see other cultures, but I'm Australian and I want to live in Australia so that was where the main decision came from for me.

"I don't want to turn the story into what could have been or where or I was going to go - the US is an obvious path from Australia - and it looks like Scotty is going to head that way. It's fantastic that some of the biggest categories in the world are looking to take on a Supercars driver.

"I haven't really regretted anything. I am not one to regret things or wished I had taken another path. I feel like I made good decisions along the way with the information I had at hand and very thankful to have had some success."

At 37, Whincup has at least this year and next to add to his extraordinary list of Supercars records after signing on for another season with Triple Eight until the end of 2021.

Admitting he felt "out of his depth" in his first race in a Supercar, he will now become the eighth driver in the series to reach 500 career starts 18 years on in the second of four races at Albert Park this weekend.

Jamie Whincup (R) hoists the Peter Brock trophy with Supercars legend Craig Lowndes after winning the 2006 Bathurst 1000.
Jamie Whincup (R) hoists the Peter Brock trophy with Supercars legend Craig Lowndes after winning the 2006 Bathurst 1000.

"I don't go out to try and break records, I am just thankful that I have been involved in the sport for such a long period of time," the Red Bull Holden Racing Team ace said.

"I love my motorsport and I love Supercars, so to be involved in 500 races is an honour. Every year I never take it for granted having a full-time seat, it's something I've got to work for every year so I'm glad I've been able to last this long and hopefully my best is yet to come."

Whincup made a strong start to his bid for an eighth Supercars crown, winning the opening race at the Adelaide 500 last month after an emotional week for the factory Holden team following news the famous car brand would cease to exist at the end of this year.

While the Holden fallout plays out behind the scenes, the driver of the No. 88 Commodore is keeping his focus on the track and his bid to prevent a Ford three-peat and put the Lion back on top - possibly for the last time.

"All I will say there is I like the number eight. Eight is a good number," Whincup said.

A fresh faced Jamie Whincup looks to the skies after winning the 2006 Clipsal 500. Picture: Campbell Brodie
A fresh faced Jamie Whincup looks to the skies after winning the 2006 Clipsal 500. Picture: Campbell Brodie

THE WHINCUP FILE

* Career Supercars championships: 7 (most of any driver in history, most recent in 2017)

* Career wins: 119 (1st on the all-time race wins list)

* Career pole positions: 84 (1st on the all-time pole positions list)

* Career podiums: 209 (1st on the all-time podiums list)

* Most wins as a Holden driver in Supercars: 86



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